Jackie Leven RIP

Jackie Leven: 18 June 1950 to 14 November 2011

There are many far better qualified than I am to write tributes to the one they called Jackie Leven, but my own testament is no less sincere. The few times we met he was always gracious and garrulous in conversation, as generous with his ears as he was with his tales, however tall they may have been.

He could spin a yarn that would propel any story I had cared to write, links to some of which I have gathered on this page, but was also genuinely interested in opinions ventured and knowledge gained. I remember well the time he was persuaded to play a tiny gig in the skittle alley of my village pub deep in the heart of Dorset, a stone’s throw from the farmland on which he once lived.

There weren’t many people there, no more than 30, but Jackie was undaunted and produced a performance that ran the gamut of emotion from heartache to ball-ache, unbridled joy to euphoric intervention. Along the way he regaled us with terrible tales of life on the street as readily as a sugar spun yarn about the time Bob Dylan gobbed in his pint of Guinness or the Great Dane from the pub up the road that had stood, paws on wall, beside him to piss. Then robbed Jackie’s half-eaten pork pie.

It was a rich, rare recital filled with singing lovers, fighting men, thinkers, drinkers and tinkers. It was a Jackie Leven show.

Fare thee well Jackie, where'er you may be. And don’t forget to put us on the guest list.

 Jackie's friend Phil Oates writes...

I remember the gig in Bere Regis that you write about in the blog. I had driven Jackie there from  Botley, we'd gone a round about route so he could point out the Doll by Doll farmhouse. There were a lot of things that made that day memorable, much of which was a result of the prodigious amount of alcohol he put away that evening, before, during and after the show. On the drive back he held forth on a wide variety of topics, including the demonic possession of a mutual friend, and an amazing impersonation of David Thomas impersonating a beetle complaining about Nick Cave's domestic arrangements.  
At the gig itself I remember a holidaymaker sitting on the same table asking, "this Jackie, is she any good?" They were converted by the end.


Interview 2010: Jackie on Gordon Brown, Tiger Feet, Gothic Road, 2010

Review 2009: Sir Vincent Lone

Interview 2008: Jackie on Amy Winehouse, Elton John's loofah, Lovers At the Gun Club, 2008

Review 2007: Barefoot Days/Deep in the Heart of Nowhere, 2007

Interview 2006: Jackie on Dorset, lifetime achievements, Doll By Doll, 2006